Interview by Edwin P. Sallan
Before, he was known as Marcelo Santos III across social media. As a writer, people knew him from his “hugot” lines, and quotations from his works that deal with heartbreak and lamentation of failed relationships. That’s the brand Marcelo Santos III maintained for several years.
It was only last year when he discovered a new medium to express his “hugot” lines. He said that he was burned out from writing. “For 7 years na talaga ako into books nagsusulat and then, parang na burnout ako,” he said.
To deal with the burnout, Marcelo tried vlogging. Eventually, Spotify reached out to him and that was when he found his voice again not only as a writer but now as “Hugot Marcelo.”
Gaining listeners was not difficult for Marcelo as he is already popular on social media, with 10 million followers on Facebook as of this writing.
“Before pa naman, habang nagsusulat ako ng libro, mayroon na akong social media presence so parang nabubuo—nabuo ko na yung brand ko as hugot,” he said.
Marcelo shared that the initial title of his podcast was “Hugot Nights with Marcelo.” But he was told that his brand as a “hugot” person is already there.
That’s where they came up with “Hugot Marcelo,” a simple two-word title that entirely captures him and his social media presence.
He reflected, “Kilala kasi ako sa Marcelo so parang okay din—naging successful naman yung podcast ko.”
He shared that he gained new followers with his podcast “Hugot Marcelo.”
Marcelo shared, “‘Yung mga hindi ko follower before nagiging follower ko na ngayon dahil sa podcast, kumbaga parang dati nakilala ko ‘Marcelo as a writer’ tapos Marcelo as a nakikita sa Facebook, ngayon Marcelo na nasa podcast na.”
According to Marcelo, he tries to keep his podcasts shorter than usual. For him, 15 to 30 minutes is too long. That’s why he set his podcasts to 5 to 10 minutes duration.
Aside from giving out “hugots” to his listeners, he also provides pieces of advice to his listeners who reach out to him.
“Kapag may problema ka, kwentuhan lang kita saglit tapos pag usapan na natin ‘yung pinagdadaanan mo… so nagbibigay din ako agad ng advice don sa podcast ko,” he said.
Marcelo revealed that most of the pieces of advice he provides his listeners come from “personal experience,” and the experience of his friends.
‘Sobrang hirap bumitaw’
According to Marcelo, “pagbitaw” is the theme that mostly centers around his podcast.
He reiterated: “Ang hirap—pinaka sobrang hirap bumitaw.”
As Hugot Marcelo, he reflected on the interview, “Sobrang hirap lalo na kapag nakasanayan mo na, lalo na kapag naging parte na siya ng buhay mo, ng araw-araw mo.”
He added, “Sabi nga nila ‘yon ‘yung pinakamahirap na gawin, ‘yung pagbitaw, pero pinaka maganda na regalo pag malaya ka na.”
That’s how he got his podcast branded as a “post-break up” podcast.
He assured his listeners, “Nandiyan po ‘yung podcast ko to remind them na okay din bumitaw kung hindi na talaga kaya and okay lang masaktan.”
Marcelo recounts that a lot of his listeners have messaged him, expressing gratitude as his podcast helped them deal with their own heartbreak. That’s what motivates Marcelo to keep going.
“Doon ako namo-motivate, parang kahit doon sa 5-8 minutes and 10 minutes, mayroon akong natulungan na isang tao,” he said. “Sobrang rewarding niya.”
Image credits: Spotify